New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Culture
1 October 2015

XFM revived – and a nation put to bed

Chris Moyles has settled thoroughly into middlebrow white indie, positively tender compared to his days on Radio 1.

By Antonia Quirke

By day five on the new “cool guitar rock radio station X, FM” (aka Radio Geezer), it was clear that the breakfast show host, Chris Moyles (weekdays, 6.30am to 10am), has settled thoroughly into middlebrow white indie, delivering no nasty shocks, positively tender compared to his days on Radio 1 (1997 to 2012) where, as the shows and years progressed, he would toy with his gimpy co-hosts like someone pulling shrapnel from luckless limbs.

The 41-year-old presenter’s keynote now appears to be reasonable – biddable, even. Repetitive rather than rude. “I have a bottle of Jack Daniel’s in my drawer,” he remarked, “unopened. I don’t drink whiskey. Contrary to the laddish image that people still try and give me I don’t like being drunk. I mean, I really like the social aspect of drinking, I really like the sitting around and the catching up with mates, but I just don’t like being drunk! I’m good at finding the good weak lagers though . . .” Intriguing.

Where others find lager merely a fizzy chore, Moyles associates the enormous undertaking of that chore, socially, with politesse. “Some people frown on people who drink lager because it’s not the coolest drink to drink. There’s a snobbishness to lager drinking. I like a bit of Foster’s. Carling. Becks Vier. Frontier. Simon – who produces Johnny Vaughan – has three crates of it under his desk which he says is . . .” and on it went, like someone taking us minutely through the plot of something terribly old-fashioned and familiar, with lots of tedious ins and outs, as though this was Death on the Nile but instead of the Nile we got lager. Still, he sure sounds much nicer than he used to.

Meanwhile, over on Radio 3, for eight hours (27 September), something designed to be boring enough to sleep through wasn’t quite. An all-night première performance of Max Richter’s Sleep – the longest single continuous music broadcast ever made by the BBC – encouraged the audience to listen and snooze. Midnight: pretty strings; 2.38am: occasional singing; 6.40am: sonorous, pre-vespers organ and moments of silence, the radio equivalent of white noise emitting from a stress box. Perfect music for spas, I thought more than once. Next time you get your back pummelled, grimacing at the cost, expect to hear it. 

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Content from our partners
Peatlands are nature's unsung climate warriors
How the apprenticeship levy helps small businesses to transform their workforce
How to reform the apprenticeship levy

This article appears in the 30 Sep 2015 issue of the New Statesman, The Tory tide